Hello, your butt is calling

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Yesterday, Tom and I went to Walmart Supercenter and split up to find what we needed. Ten minutes later, I got a phone call from him.

Me: “Hello?”

Tom: “I’ve got the stuff on the list. Where are you?”

Me: “I’m on Aisle B-14.”

Tom: “I’ll meet you there.”

Then the phone rang again.

Me: “Hello?”

Tom: “I’m on Aisle 14, but you’re not here.”

Me: “I said B-14. That’s B as in bumblebee.”

Tom: “Okay, I’ll be there in a second.”

Then the phone rang again — another call from Tom.

Me: “Hello?”

But there was no answer. Just dead air, so I hung up. Then it rang again.

Me: “Hello? Tom?”

Still no answer. When it happened a third time, I answered like this: “Good Lord, Tom! I said Aisle B-14! Why do you keep calling me?”

That’s when I realized my favorite butt-dialer was at it again. I wasn’t talking to my husband. I was talking to his back pocket – yelling into the dark void of a pair of cargo shorts. His pocket has the persistence of a tenacious telemarketer.

To stop it from ringing a fourth time, I held the phone and listened to the sounds of him searching for Aisle B-14.

This scenario is not unusual. Over the years, I’ve heard Tom do all kinds of things over an open phone line. I’ve listened to yard mowing. Dog walking. Channel surfing.

Once, I heard him making toast in the kitchen while I was sitting in the next room, so I yelled over to him. “Honey, your butt is calling me again.”

Him: “It is? How did that happen?”

Me: “It’s because you’re not locking the phone screen before you put it in your pocket.”

Him: “Well, that’s annoying.”

Me: “Tell me about it. I feel like your backside is stalking me.”

The problem with butt-dials is that the person on the receiving end never knows whether it’s the real deal or nothing but butt. So we answer the call, even the third time in a row, because what if it’s an emergency? What if someone needs help? What if he’s calling to say, “Let’s eat out tonight”? I never want to miss that kind of call.

But obviously, there are times when I can’t answer, and that’s when Tom’s pocket leaves me long voicemails filled with random sound effects. I like listening to those messages with our 16-year-old daughter so we can play a game called “Let’s guess what Dad is doing.”

Full disclosure: Tom isn’t alone in this. My own butt has made calls without my knowledge or permission. And my mom’s purse has called us dozens of times. Most of us have done it at least once and probably a few more times we don’t even know about.

The solution is simple but sometimes hard to remember: Lock your phone – which means you make your home screen go dark – before you put it in your pocket or purse. On most phones, it requires only the push of one button.

Don’t know how to do it? That’s okay. Just ask Google or a teenager. But keep in mind that Google won’t roll its eyes while it shows you what to do.

Gwen Rockwood is a syndicated freelance columnist. Email (but don’t butt-dial) her at gwenrockwood5@gmail.com. Her book is available on Amazon. 

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